As Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins in the US, it’s very tempting for progressives worldwide to cheer his apparent downfall. But we shouldn’t be so quick to start the jubilations. Because his conviction is not at all likely – let alone certain. And the whole episode may well embolden him by serving as a tool to rally his base.
With the US presidential election approaching in 11 months’ time, Donald Trump is going into attack mode. But he has a new target. Whereas previously he and his backers were focusing on Democratic Party establishment favourite Joe Biden, they are now homing in on democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. This can only mean one thing: they fear that he will win his party’s nomination. And they’re right to be scared. Because there’s strong evidence that he stands the best chance of beating Trump.
Boris Johnson’s cosy relationship with US President Donald Trump is nothing new. After Theresa May’s resignation, Trump was quick to endorse Johnson as her replacement. He even described him as “Britain Trump”. Ever since becoming prime minister, Johnson has returned the favor by further aligning Britain with the US administration. Shortly after his election victory in December 2019, the two announced that they had discussed an “ambitious free trade agreement” in a phone call.
The start of 2020 has seen an escalation in tensions between the US and Iran not previously seen since the 1970s. These tensions culminated in a US airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. As is typical of the Trump administration, US officials and Trump himself have oscillated wildly between different positions. At first, it seemed as if a US invasion was imminent, with anti-war groups issuing ominous warnings of the beginning of World War III. On 8 January, however, Trump appeared to backtrack, claiming that Tehran was “standing down” and claiming to welcome military de-escalation.
In 2019 the UK was convulsed by a shocking act of violence along London Bridge. On 29 November, two people were killed and another three injured in a stabbing attack committed by a radical Islamist who had previously served prison time for another terrorism offence. Predictably, the usual suspects in the right-wing media cynically used the attack and the background of the perpetrator to push their reactionary agenda. And as the 12 December election day neared, it was also inevitably used as ammunition for attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Of course, all acts of terror should unequivocally be condemned. But these right-wing forces need to be called out on their shameless misuse of the tragedy for their own political ends.
Following the devastating loss for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the 12 December election, the Labour right has already been crowing about how the result ‘proves’ that Corbyn and “the far-left” were “toxic”. As the recriminations gather steam, there will inevitably be calls for the party to drop its commitment to renationalising the UK’s railway and utility companies. Progressives must stand firm in resisting such pressure. The evidence is overwhelming that public ownership is sound policy that enjoys strong public support.
To say that much modern art is pretentious, ostentatious, and ridiculously priced would hardly be saying anything new. But one certain sale at this year’s famous Art Basel Miami festival has plunged things to new depths of absurdity. And with economic inequality at record levels, it’s worth putting things into a broader social context.